Cashew Masala Milk (Vegan, Paleo, Refined Sugar free)

 Masala Milk is a traditional Indian drink made using milk blended with nuts, spices and flavors. I am not sure which part of India this drink originated from.  In Maharashtra, during Kojagiri Poornima, it is a ritual to serve Masala doodh (Milk) after watching the full bright moon. Many people fast on this day and make this Masala Doodh and keep the milk in a container directly under the Moonlight as a prasad and get blessings from the Moon God. I always enjoyed having this drink as a child since we had lots of Maharashtrian neighbors growing up and we girls would always have a blast on Kojagiri Poornima. Drinking this milk was the best part for me 🙂

Now that I avoid dairy, I decided to come up with a vegan version of this milk, which was not difficult at all. I just used cashew nut and coconut milk to be the ‘milk’ source and additionally I also used dates to be the sweetener so no other sugar was necessary! So I have a really healthy version of this traditional drink and this is one delicious drink that makes you feel special! I indulged myself with this drink on one hot lazy afternoon last week as I stayed indoors enjoying the view from our sunroom. I felt like royalty -It was just perfect 🙂

As we celebrate Diwali over the next few days, this would be a great drink to serve to your guests!

Cashew Masala Milk (Vegan, Paleo)
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Beverage
Cuisine: Indian, Fusion
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
A healthy version of the traditional indian drink made with cashew nuts, dates and fragrant spices
Ingredients
  • 20 cashew nuts, soaked in hot water for 2 hours (or overnight for 6-8 hours)
  • 4 dates
  • 1 cup warm water
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ⅛th teaspoon saffron (4-5 strands)
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder (by crushing green cardamom pods)
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1-2 drops of rose extract/essence
  • 1 tbsp crushed pistachios (optional)
Instructions
  1. Drain water from the soaked cashews. Place in blender/food processor jar. Add the dates and half of the warm water. Blend until smooth. Add the rest of the water and the coconut milk and blend again.
  2. Add the saffron, cardamom and nutmeg and rose. Mix well using a spoon. Transfer to two serving bowls/glasses. Add the crushed pistachios on top.
  3. You can serve as is or chilled.
Notes
I don't add crushed pistachios since I am sensitive to pistachios but it gives it additional flavor

Kaju Barfi with honey || Refined sugar free Kaju Katli || Cashew Nut Fudge

Happy Diwali to all those who celebrate! I have two ‘Diwali special’ recipes for you and both of them have cashew nuts as the main ingredient. And both the recipes are extremely simple and easy! But most importantly the end products are absolutely delicious!

The first one I will share in this post is the recipe for sugar free Kaju Katli! Bet you can feel my excitement! Having gone refined sugar free since last two years, Kaju Katli had gone out of my life too sadly 🙁 But I had been meaning to experiment making Kaju Katli using honey and finally for this Diwali I was able to try it. And pleased to inform you that it was a super duper success! Yipee!

My son loves Kaju Katli. in fact that is the ONLY Indian sweet that he will eat! So when he came home from school I told him there was Kaju Katli in the fridge. He quickly went to grab it and had a bite. ‘Hmm… very good mom!’ he said. I said to him – “And guess what?” .  He immediately responded knowing how much I detest refined white sugar, “You must have not added sugar…so, what did you add?” .

I smiled and replied ‘Honey, I just added some honey!” 🙂 Also added rose flavor instead of cardamom. That coupled with the natural floral tint of the honey made this Kaju Katli absolutely fragrant and delectable. It was the perfect offering for a Diwali Pooja.

And guess what else was perfect? Fresh flowers! Yes this year the weather has been so warm until this week that my garden has still been blooming.This is so unusual for us to have flowers in our garden for Diwali!  Don’t you love it when that happens? I consider it as a gift from the heavens!

Have a Happy Diwali and stay blessed! And look out for my next post which also has cashews in it!

Kaju Barfi with honey || Refined sugar free Kaju Katli ||
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Healthy Dessert
Cuisine: Indian, Fusion
 
A healthy and delectable version of the traditional Cashew nut barfi or Kaju Katli made with cashew nuts and honey and infused with a rose flavor.
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups cashew nuts whole
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1-2 drops of rose extract
Instructions
  1. In a skillet or a frying pan, dry roast the cashew nuts on a low flame for about 5 mins stirring continuously to avoid burning. The cashew nuts should only slightly change color (with some light brown spots). Turn heat off.
  2. Transfer the roasted cashew nuts to a food processor and pulse for about 10-20 secs until you get a coarse powder. Take care not too grind too much or you might get lumpy cashew butter. Keep aside.
  3. In a medium size cooking pot, add the honey and the water. Heat until the mixture begins to bubble. Immediately add the ground cashew powder and mix using a spoon or spatula until all the powder is mixed well with the honey and you get a wet pasty mixture. Turn heat off.
  4. Place a large sheet of parchment paper on the kitchen counter(or a large tray). Dump the hot cashew mixture onto the parchment paper.
  5. Take another parchment paper sheet and place it over the mixture to cover it. Now use a rolling pin to flatten the mixture from all sides.
  6. Now place this flattened spread out mixture along with the parchment paper onto a tray and keep in the freezer for about 30 mins (or refrigerator for 1 hour).
  7. After the mixture has turned firm, remove from the freezer (or refrigerator) and cut into diamonds or squares.
  8. Keep the Kaju Katli pieces in the refrigerator until serving.
Notes
Roast the cashew nuts on low heat so that they don't turn brown in color. Store the kaju Barfis in the refrigerator since they become sticky at room temperature.
You can try using maple syrup for honey too although I haven't tried it yet.

Mini Apple Pies (Vegan, Paleo)

Nothing can be more American than an apple pie, right? And recipes for a scrumptious pie crust are in plentiful! I have one recipe myself that I have been making for years and one that is absolutely delicious.  I make it with a streusel on top with almonds and brown sugar and this apple pie is my family’s favorite.

This year I wanted to make a grain free, dairy free apple pie that I could eat too. One day as I was rearranging my baking items on the kitchen shelf, I saw my mini tart pans and from nowhere the thought of making apple pies in them came to my mind 🙂 I thought that would be really neat because that way you won’t make a mess when you try to slice the apple pie. Each of us could have a personal apple pie!  I initially thought that I would make my original pie crust recipe for the rest of the family and make a paleo version for myself. But as I began to get things out of the pantry, I thought why not make a Paleo version for the entire family? I knew that the crust I had made when I made my Paleo Blueberry Pie was absolutely tasty. So I decided to take the risk and see my family’s reaction.

I used the same crust recipe as I had for my Paleo Blueberry Pie and for the filling I decided to cook the apples first on the stove top first since this crust needed very little time to cook and the apples would need more time. The pies came out so good! – just as I had anticipated. The conversation below describes my children’s reaction after I served them this pie.!

My daughter – “Mom, this is sooo good! What did you put in it this time?” And then “Wait, mom, you can eat this too? “(in a surprised tone after watching me eating the same pie)

I nod and say “Yes this has only things that I am allowed to eat and is grain free, dairy free and refined sugar free”

My son – “Really! Really! This is so good, man!. This crust – its so powdery, so shortbread-like and so tasty! What’s in it?”

I say “Coconut flour and Arrowroot flour and coconut oil”.

My daughter – “These mini apple pies are so cute!”

And I smiled to myself. As you can see, more than the pie, this conversation made me satiated! Now that was well worth the risk! And the bonus? This crust is such a breeze to make!

Bringing these cute mini pies to the Paleo/AIP Recipe Round up this week!

Mini Apple Pies (Vegan, Paleo)
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert; Healthy desserts
Cuisine: Fusion, Paleo
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Delectable mini apple pies with a scrumptious, shortbread like crust of coconut and arrowroot flours with a soft 'melt-in-mouth' filling of apples
Ingredients
For the crust:
  • ⅔ rd cup plus about 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • ⅔ rd cup arrowroot flour
  • pinch sea salt
  • ½ cup coconut oil (semi solid)
For the filling:
  • 5 medium size apples, peeled and sliced thinly (use soft variety of apples like Macintosh)
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp all spice (use cinnamon powder for AIP)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (optional, use ginger for AIP)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp tapioca flour mixed in ¼ cup water
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 deg F(160 deg C).
  2. In a medium size mixing bowl, add all the crust ingredients. Mix using your hands and form a dough. (You may need to add a little more coconut flour if you feel the dough is too sticky). The dough should be smooth. Divide the dough into four equal parts.
  3. Grease four mini pie pans with coconut oil. Place parchment paper on top. Place the dough in each of the pans and press using your hands to cover the base and sides of the pan. Prick using a fork. Bake at 325 deg F for about 5 mins until the crust looks golden brown from top. Take out of oven and keep aside. Turn oven temp to 350 deg F(170 deg C)
  4. To make the filling, add all the filling ingredients, except the tapioca flour slurry in a cooking pot. Heat on medium heat covered for about 10 mins stirring frequently. Once the apples start to turn soft, mix the tapioca flour with water in a small bowl and pour this slurry slowly into the pot and stir vigorously. Cook for only one more min and turn heat off.
  5. Spoon apple filling into each of the four mini pie pans on top of the pre baked crust. Bake the pies additionally for about 7 more mins at 350 deg F(170 deg C) until golden brown on the edges.
  6. Serve the individual pies while warm!

Chestnut flour Halwa (Singhare ka Halwa) – Grain free, Dairy Free

  Chestnut flour is something that I recently got acquainted with. Thanks to my friend Monika. A few weeks ago when we were at their home for dinner, she told me about this flour which is called as ‘singhare ka atta’ in India and how this flour is used during religious fasting periods called as Vrat. She said that this flour came from water chestnuts and hence it is grain free. Wow, I was so happy to hear this and the next time I was at our local indian grocery store, I picked up a bag of this flour. I couldn’t wait to try this for making parathas as Monika had suggested!

I did make the parathas with aloo(potatoes) in them since that was the only way to make the dough. The parathas were good and now I started browsing more recipes using singhare ka atta. There are all sorts of things that showed up – dosas, samosas, etc and I started to drool looking at all these foods that are forbidden for me on my current grain free diet. I was feeling so excited already  and then I saw the recipe for ‘singhare ka halwa’! Omg! I couldn’t believe my eyes! Halwa has always been my favorite Indian dessert and for the past two years I have not had halwa being dairy free , gluten free and sugar free!  So looking at this recipe, I imagined the possibility of  a halwa in the near future for me. That was incredible! If it came out good, Monika, my friend deserved a treat from me!

And today happened to be the perfect day to try this recipe since it was Janmashtami which is Lord Krishna’s birthday. I started seeing all kinds of Indian traditional sweets recipes posted on instagram and in the afternoon, it was time for me to try making the singhara atta ka halwa.!

Turned out great – satisfied my halwa cravings totally. Even though I used coconut oil instead of ghee and maple syrup instead of sugar. The chestnut flour itself has a nutty taste and aroma so the halwa tastes rich even without any ghee or milk in it.

Chestnut flour Halwa (Singhare ka Halwa) - Grain free, Dairy Free
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, sweets
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
A delicious fudge made with chest nut flour and maple syrup flavored with cardamom
Ingredients
  • ½ cup chest nut flour (sing hare ka atta)
  • pinch sea salt
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder
  • cashew nut pieces-5-6
  • shredded coconut- 1 tsp
Instructions
  1. In a kauai (wok style pan), add the chest nut flour and roast it on medium heat stirring continuously. Keep roasting for around 3-4 mins on medium heat until it turns to light brown color.
  2. Now add the coconut oil and again stir to blend it in with the flour.
  3. Once it forms into a sticky mass (about 2-3 mins later) add the water, salt, maple syrup and cardamom powder. Stir continuously till you get a smooth halwa consistency.
  4. Turn heat off and top with cashew nut pieces and shredded coconut.

Blueberry Pie (Vegan, Paleo, AIP)

It has been blueberry season these past few weeks and we have been enjoying it to the fullest! With two farms within a couple miles from our home, we are so fortunate to get the freshest of the freshest every season! This year I made two trips to each of the farms.  The kids being older now…they aren’t as excited about picking as they used to be some years ago. However, I still dragged them with me saying ‘mom cannot carry heavy stuff alone, remember?’. And that is the truth too. Although my RA has been under control now for the past few months with medications and my new diet, I still avoid carrying even moderately heavy stuff lest it stirs up a flare! And the kids know this. So that’s how I got them to go with me 🙂

We picked like about 4 quarts or 6 lbs each time and finished up all of it in a couple weeks! I had got more thinking I will freeze some but the blueberries were so delicious that between just gobbling them up and adding to my morning smoothies they were all gone. And so I was planning for a 3rd visit when my friend Monika happened to mention that she was planning to go that weekend with her kiddos. Rest you can guess …yeah I asked (em..ordered) her to get me another 4 quarts:)

OK so this time, I had to make the blueberry crostata for my children that I make every year and which they had been asking for. So I made that for my son on his birthday and then since I was craving for a pie myself, I made this Paleo version of blueberry pie for myself based on the Blackberry pie recipe by Autoimmune wellness. Since I was making this only for myself, I decided to make two mini pies using my cute tartlet pans. You might remember that I had made another blueberry dessert recently using these pans – Paleo Blueberry tartlets . Yeah what can I say? I am indeed crazy about blueberries 🙂

The pies turned out perfect. Since I was doing a small batch, I had to add a little more coconut flour than what the original recipe stated.  A lot of times in baking, the same proportions of ingredients do not hold when you do a smaller batch. In any case, the crust with the coconut flour was so yummy – almost shortbread like crumbly but very scrumptious! Thank you to Autoimmune Wellness site for this wonderful Paleo crust recipe. I think next time I might make a large batch for the whole family! Healthy and delicious you can’t beat that right?

Blueberry Pie (Vegan, GF, Paleo, AIP)
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Healthy Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
A healthy and delicious blueberry pie with an absolutely tasty, grain free coconut flour crust!
Ingredients
For the crust:
  • ⅓ rd cup plus 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • ⅓ rd cup arrowroot flour
  • pinch sea salt
  • ¼ cup coconut oil (semi solid)
  • About 1 tsp ice cold water
For the filling:
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp tapioca flour mixed in 2 tbsp water
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 deg F.
  2. In a medium size mixing bowl, add all the crust ingredients except the water. Mix using your hands and add the water and form a dough. (You may need to add a little more coconut flour if you feel the dough is too sticky). The dough should be smooth. Divide the dough into two equal parts.
  3. Line two mini pie pans with parchment paper. Place the dough in each of the pans and press using your hands to cover the base and sides of the pan. Prick using a fork. Bake at 325 deg F for about 10 mins until the crust looks golden brown from top.
  4. While the crust is baking, in a small pot add all the filling ingredients except the tapioca flour. cook for about 5 mins on medium heat. Then slowly add the tapioca flour slurry and stir continuously until you get a thickened filling.
  5. Pour this filling onto the pie pans and bake the pies again at 350 deg F for 5 more mins. Let cool for 10 mins before serving!